My Takeaways From The Book Predictable Success

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, August 16, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

Even if there was such a thing as a silver bullet for the success of a business, it would still need to be properly fired. This would require a silver gun and people who could fire the gun accurately to the exact target, whatever that target is, of course. As ideal as that would be, it doesn’t exist and I takes work to get your business to where you want it.

Thinking about where your business is and where you want it to be is the idea behind the book Predictable Success by Les McKeown. I was given a copy to read by the author. In it, the reader is taken through 7 stages of the lifecycle of a business as identified by McKeown with “predictable success” being at the top of the curve, ideally where your business should be. All of McKeown’s 7 states are: Early Struggle, Fun, Whitewater, Predictable Success, Treadmill, The Big Rut and Death Rattle.

As I read Predictable Success, I had many flashbacks to all of the firms I have worked for, and of course my own Web consulting firm Dunkirk Systems, LLC. In addition to this trip down memory lane, my takeaways from the book are reflective of my experiences, and are:

It’s important to know where your business is - Whether you are joining a business or have been in one, knowing which state the business is in is important to your decision-making there. For management, knowing the state can influence decisions to improve the business. For employees, it can influence your decision to stay or leave a job.

The wrong people can hurt a business - Unfortunately I have seen this one too much personally, where key people in a firm get to a level where many people believe they are irreplaceable and position themselves as such. This can occur to the point where management will work around them to solve problems in the company, even if those people are the real problem.

Some people cannot solve their business’ problems themselves - From small to large, there are some who lead or run a business who don’t have it in to truly do what is needed to correct the problems in their business. Why? There are many reasons, from not realizing there is a problem to being mired in the day-to-day work of the business to pull themselves out to see and do what’s needed to not having the capital they need (whether people and/or money) to make it happen. I’m not trying to be a downer, only realistic. One thing this book does well is outline steps to get to predictable success – so if you have some outline of a plan, it will help you determine if you have what it takes to make things happen, or seek help to do so.

I enjoyed reading Predictable Success. It is written in a no-nonsense, down to business manner and it is, as I said previously, easy to relate to the business stages based on my previous experience, and probably would be the same for you as well. I rate Predictable Success up with The E-Myth Revisited as a guide for businesses who are in a funk, and recommend it to any business owner, even if everthing is going great for them, or so they may think!


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Next likemind Chicago on Friday August 20

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 11:20 AM with 0 comments

likemind.chi logoThe next likemind will be Friday, August 20, 2010 in dozens of cities around the world.

In Chicago, it will be at Argo Tea, 140 S Dearborn St. at the corner of Adams and Dearborn Streets in the Loop from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.

I call likemind a gathering of creative-minded people, from various disciplines including Internet, advertising, art, social media, et. al. For more on likemind, read this great article on likemind Chicago from the Newcity and likemind from the New York Times.

No RSVP is required. You are also welcome to join the likemind Chicago Facebook group.


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Next likemind Chicago on Friday July 16

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, July 08, 2010 at 09:46 AM with 0 comments

likemind.chi logoThe next likemind will be Friday, July 16, 2010 in dozens of cities around the world.

In Chicago, it will be at Argo Tea, 140 S Dearborn St. at the corner of Adams and Dearborn Streets in the Loop from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.

I call likemind a gathering of creative-minded people, from various disciplines including Internet, advertising, art, social media, et. al. For more information on likemind, you can read this great article on likemind from the New York Times.

No RSVP is required. You are also welcome to join the likemind Chicago Facebook group.


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Dunkirk Systems, LLC Releases The State Of Your Web Site – A Self-Assessment Checklist

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 2 comments

image of The State of Their Web SiteDo you know The State of Your Web Site?

From a client or prospect meeting to a summer picnic, I am involved in many conversations about Web sites. Some people brag about how much they love their Web sites. On the obvious flip-side, many say they hate their Web site. As the conversation flows to some depth, I often find in most cases people cannot quantify what it is they like or dislike about the Web site. By quantifying. I am referring to elements of a Web site which may be working or not working for the site owner, but no specific knowledge of which ones and their status.

In short, they do not know The State of Their Web Site.

To help add clarity and guide change to a Web site, my Web consulting firm Dunkirk Systems, LLC has developed The State of Your Web Site. It is a free, no obligation self-assessment checklist where a non-technical owner of a Web site can review the 34 questions on the checklist and move toward an objective answer to this question. You can download a PDF copy for free at TheStateOfYourWebSite.com.

Emphasis On The Non-Technical Owner

One goal of The State of Your Web Site is to help the non-technical owner of a Web site. Why? From our experience at Dunkirk, which includes my own personal experience with developing software for over 20 years, most “owners” of a Web site or any business application is they are not technical. They may understand technology, but they are most likely not programmers or technicians. Despite this, it doesn’t mean you cannot recognize issues or opportunities for improvements with your Web site. These questions are at a level where if the answer is not known or found to be at issue, a more thorough check by a technician can be made to gain its scope and make a recommendation.

Focus On Business, Content and Design

The checklist is broken into 3 categories – business, content and design – and each has specific questions related to these areas, and of course all can be answered from a non-technical aspect. The idea was where you could place this checklist in front of you, go through each question and navigate through your Web site to see whether you can check it off or not. These are not trick questions – they are presented in a straightforward, objective manner. That being said, someone may not know what a question is asking, which is another opportunity to learn.

Get Your Copy and Learn The State of Your Web Site

There is no obligation or any requirement of your name and personal information to get a free copy of The State of Your Web Site checklist. Feel free to pass along the link to your friends or colleagues, or simply send them a copy of the checklist! But once you use it, you may have questions on some or all questions presented, not to mention you may be ready to take the checklist to the next level and want an detailed Web site assessment. We do have a contact form on the checklist landing page where you can contact Dunkirk, or you can use the contact form on our Web site at DunkirkSystems.com.

In-Depth Converation On Each Question to Follow

Going forward, I will feature in-depth conversation on each question on the checklist here on The Hot Iron. I welcome your questions and comments on each. Together, we can all have a firm grasp on The State of Your Web Site.


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Chicago Blackhawks Exemplify Entrepreneurial Spirit

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 11:31 AM with 0 comments

photo of Tiffany & Co. storefront with Chicago Blackhawks jerseyGo Blackhawks! That, and many other cheers have been rippling through the Chicagoland area the past few months, as the NHL Blackhawks played hard to the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. As a one-time pro-hockey fan, I was swept up in the momentum and was there cheering along with everyone else. You know everyone was caught up in the Blackhawks when venerable institutions like Tiffany & Co. even sported the red and black on their storefronts, as pictured!

The ascent of the team is not just one for the sports chronicles, but for the business storytelling as well. Just a few years ago, nobody would have thought the team would even sellout a game, let alone win it all. Attendance was low, games were not on TV, the team owner was known for many years as “Dollar” Bill Wirtz, and their record reflected all of this.

Then Mr. Writz died, and his son, Rocky, inherited the hockey club. It seemed like it was within days of his death that his offspring was trying to get games on local television, and a handful of games were broadcast for all to see, something his father never believed in. One-by-one changes were taking place – among them a new team president and signing young players like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The team adopted a mantra of “One Goal” – the play on words meaning everything they did was to win the Stanley Cup. And low and behold, as I write this it is now traveling back from LA with members of the team after an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Over the course of the last few years I have followed both sides of the team. In numerous interviews Rocky Wirtz talked about changing the culture of the organization, focusing on the fans and selling and marketing the team. What I heard was almost deja vu to me, sounding much like the transformation of the New England Patriots in the 90’s. Within a few years after Robert Kraft bought the team, they were in the Super Bowl, albeit a losing effort to the Packers. But the whole organization pressed on, both on and off the field. Today 3 Super Bowl banners hang within Gillette Stadium, which replaced the outdated-from-day-one Foxboro Stadium. And though I didn’t follow the story as closely with the Boston Celtics, they are now playing for their second NBA title since new ownership took over the team in the last decade.

Even though you are a pro sports team, just because you are there does not mean people will be interested. This is what happened with me, as I lost interest in the Boston Bruins over the years because of detached ownership and what seemed to be more attention to managing the bottom line than to winning. Granted, the Bruins have done well over the last few years, probably due to the son of the out-of-town owner of the team actually being in Boston. Where I wish them well, my heart and allegiance have transferred to another of the Original Six hockey teams.

The rise of the Blackhawks is inspiring on a lot of fronts, including business. It says there is hope for all of us if the commitment is there. Granted, according to Rocky Wirtz the team is currently losing money, but the long-term affects of this championship season have yet to play out. A look at the growing Patriot Place, which now surrounds Gillette Stadium, is a testament to that. With what looks like a solid organization, there’s no reason they cannot achieve their “One Goal” next season too.


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Start Everywhere

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, June 07, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

My favorite commercial on TV these days is from Dunkin' Donuts. I couldn’t find a video of it online, so I'll summarize it quick here - it opens with an overstuffed garage and a man and woman standing back looking at it. The woman asks, “where do we start?” and the man answers, “everywhere.”

Below is a screenshot I took literally from my TV.

screenshot of Dunkin Donuts Start Everywhere TV commercial

I like this ad as the garage sometimes resembles the work in front of me. In order to get to the meat of things, you just need to clear out some of the smaller things and the low-hanging fruits. As things clear, so may your view of the tasks at hand.

Good luck with your task list, and wish me luck on mine. Have a great week!


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Thoughts On My Last Blog Post And Hello To New Readers

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 01:40 PM with 0 comments

A special hello to new readers of The Hot Iron, especially those who came here after reading the latest edition of the “Out of Date Newsletter” by Christopher S. Penn. I was mentioned in the newsletter which arrived in my inbox yesterday, and I appreciate the kind words!

banner from Out of Date newsletter by Christopher S. Penn

Apparently I am returning the favor, as mentions from me in social media drove traffic to his newsletter. Of course you can only find out this information from analytics, which I have talked about quite a bit here. If you’re not already reading his newsletter or his blog, visit ChristopherSPenn.com and do so, not to mention the amazing marketing podcast Marketing Over Coffee he does with my good friend John Wall.

The Power Of The Last Post And Tweet

If you are new or a regular reader, you may have noticed I haven’t posted to The Hot Iron in a couple of weeks. I won’t get into any excuses as that is not important. But if you did subscribe, thank you, as many may not have found something relevant as of late and may not have chosen to. Also, if you read my Twitter stream yesterday, you may have seen more mentions of my wedding anniversary than anything business-related, as I took yesterday off. If you are following my tweets, again, thank you!

In a 24/7 world where attention spans are short, where we last left off is sometimes all people see from us. In social media and blogging, this is something to always be aware of. But then again, it is no different than a Web site with minimal or outdated content. You never know who will read, and when, and hopefully what they see is of interest to them. This is why on the Web pages of The Hot Iron I just have a link to my Twitter page, as sometimes the last one I leave is not always the best one.

Any Press Is Good Press

Despite this, I am thrilled to have the mention, especially as not everyone reads an email newsletter the day it is delivered. In my case, it was the next day – I was of course monitoring my email during the day and saw it in my inbox, but did not read it in full until today. Plus I subscribe to Donald Trump’s mantra that “any press is good press” as people are talking about you, and where you can’t control the message all the time, you can have an impact from what you say yourself.

Be on the watch for new thoughts and commentary coming from me here at The Hot Iron. Seriously.


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Next likemind Chicago on Friday May 21

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, May 06, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

likemind.chi logoThe next likemind will be Friday, May 21, 2010 in dozens of cities around the world.

In Chicago, it will be at Argo Tea, 140 S Dearborn St. at the corner of Adams and Dearborn Streets in the Loop from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.

I call likemind a gathering of creative-minded people, from various disciplines including Internet, advertising, art, social media, et. al. For more information on likemind, you can read this great article on likemind from the New York Times.

No RSVP is required. You are also welcome to join the likemind Chicago Facebook group.


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Mike Maddaloni Interviewed For Age of Conversation 3 On Eyecube

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, May 03, 2010 at 12:21 PM with 0 comments

eyecube logoLast week I wrote about my being part of Age of Conversation 3, a crowdsourced book written by nearly 200 authors from around the world. Recently I was interviewed by Rick Liebling on his blog, eyecube. The interview is now posted there, and I invite you to read it and get some insight into my involvement with this project. Rick himself is an AOC3 author, and has interviewed a number of other authors, and those interviews are being posted to his blog almost daily.

Stay tuned for more information about the release of the book itself.


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Mike Maddaloni Is A Contributor To The Age Of Conversation 3

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 1 comments

cover of The Age of Conversation 3Imagine a book comprising a few different themes and written by almost 200 writers. Can you? Either way I am proud to say I, Mike Maddaloni, am one of those writers in the book The Age of Conversation 3, coming soon to a bookstore near you.

As you cam tell by the title, this is the third book of its kind in this series. Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan are the curators and editors of this project. It is a truly international project, with authors from around the globe and Gavin in Australia and Drew in the US.

The central theme of AOC3 is 'It’s Time to Get Busy!' and the book is divided into 10 sections: At the coalface, Conversational branding, Influence, Getting to work, Corporate conversations, Measurement, In the boardroom, Pitching social media, Innovation and execution, Identities, friends and trusted strangers. My piece will be in the 'Getting to work' section.

The Age of Conversation 3 will be released soon - look for another post here on The Hot Iron. All profits from the sale of the book are donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Special thanks to Gav and Drew for letting me be a part of AOC3 and for all of their hard work to make it a reality!


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